Hyperdocs are a really great concept. Your entire lesson on one document. The creators of Hyperdocs use Google Docs in all their sample content. I used to say they work just as well in Microsoft Word. I can’t say that anymore, because they are now so much better in Microsoft Word. Buckle up for Day 120 of 365 Ideas for #Microsoft365– Microsoft Word for the ultimate Hyperdocs.
What is a Hyperdoc?
Let’s make sure we all know what we’re talking about with Hyperdocs. At first glance, it looks like you just have a document with links (hyperlinks) to all of the content and activities the students will complete for the lesson. Like an entire lesson plan in one document, but for the students. You can have text for students to read on the Hyperdoc, or have links to other documents to read, but definitely links to articles, and videos, and activities in Nearpod, or Quizlet, or EdPuzzle, or whatever EdTech platforms you use. And Forms. Link to assessments in (Google) Forms. The strength here is that students keep coming back to the Hyperdoc, which keeps them organized and on track.
Advocates will often say that Hyperdocs are not just documents with links in them. Strictly speaking, that is precisely what they are. What advocates mean by that, is that Hyperdocs are carefully and thoughtfully designed. They aren’t just a list of links, even if that is what they literally are. They are lesson plans, and on the Hyperdocs website, you can find many templates like the 5E lesson plan format, for example.
What Hyperdocs Want to be When They Grow up
Why do I make the bold claim that they are now better in Word? Simply because your Hyperdoc in Microsoft Word can do anything your Hyperdoc in Google Docs can do, but the opposite is no longer true. If I’m being completely honest, Microsoft OneNote is what Hyperdocs want to be when they grow up. But Word is easier to use and more familiar, and once again, features that were birthed in OneNote (like Immersive Reader) are being added to other Office apps. You can now embed many of the types of files in Word that you used to only be able to embed in OneNote. You can still embed more file types in OneNote, but for the average Google user, and even the majority of Microsoft users, switching to Word is a much easier lift than learning OneNote. Because, let’s face it, we all know the basics of Word already.
Currently these new embed features are only available in the online version of Word, which is great actually, since Chromebooks are greatly limited devices, in that they are only a web browser. So the online version is the only version most of our students can access.
Better Hyperdocs in Word
The difference here is that instead of students clicking on a link to get to the video in another tab in the browser, and when they finish the video, click back on the tab with the Hyperdoc, Word allows you to put the actual video in your document. It plays right on your document! The same is true of (Microsoft) Forms. Instead of clicking on a link in the Google Doc, and the Google Form opens in a new tab, place your Microsoft Forms assessment inside your Microsoft Word document. No tabs to navigate. The videos even have captions and the Fs have Immersive Reader for accessibility.
What we can Expect in the Future
Well, I shouldn’t say No tabs to navigate. Currently if I paste a url to a page in Quizlet, Edpuzzle or Wakelet into OneNote, they will embed this same way, but so far in Word they still function as a clickable link.(Although Word does convert the ugly “naked” url into the title of the webpage for you so students know what they are clicking on.) There are several other websites that embed in OneNote, but not yet in Word. But they are coming to Word.
There are others, like one of my favorites, Nearpod, that don’t embed in OneNote or Word. (They do in Teams tabs though!)
Simplify Navigation in your Hyperdoc
All of this serves to simplify the navigation, which after all is the point of a Hyperdoc. It’s like a hyper-hyperdoc! If your lesson content includes text, videos in Stream or on YouTube, polls and quizzes in Forms, and multimedia presentation in Sway, your students never have to navigate away from the document. Even if you are also utilizing other websites, you are reducing the number of times your students have to navigate from and back to your Hyperdoc. That’s huge for students who are challenged with organization or executive functioning, and of course all of our “littles”. And like most things that are essential for students with disabilities, it also makes life easier for the rest of us!
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